I hate when someone comes up to me and asks, ‘What are you doing today?” I have to answer, “Nothing.”
“Oh good,” she says. “Would you clean the toilets?”
“Damn, I think to myself. Tricked again.” If only she asked me the second question first, “Would you clean the toilets today?” Then my answer can quickly become, “Oh, that’s too bad, I’m completely busy today. Sorry.”
What Jesus ask?. He asks the first question and none other. No details or duties. Jesus says to each of us, “What are you doing today?”
Details and duties, Jesus doesn’t seem concerned about them. As if he’d say, “They’ll work themselves out.”
Who would say, “Yes” if the questions were life’s second ones?
“Hey how would you like to be a widow and raise your three children alone?” “Wow, Jesus, really! I’d love to do that.” Hardly.
— how would you like to be cancer free for one year only to have it return?
— how would you like to know that your mind is fading away with each passing week and there is nothing anyone can do about it?
— how about having an inoperable tumor and the doctor says, “Let’s just wait and see?”
—how about a stupid car accident leaves your son a paraplegic?
Or simpler but just as complex ones…
— how about carrying a big chip on your shoulder that weighs you down daily?
— how being stuck in a job that you hate but having children to feed and clothe?
— how about finding something wrong with everything because you’re right about everything?
— how about being bored at 80 years old as much as a 12 year old is on a rainy Saturday afternoon?
If Jesus asked us the second question first, how many of us would say, “Hey, great, bring it on!” Instead Jesus only asks us the first question first, “What are you doing today?”
You know, this “yes” and “no” stuff of Jesus doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t matter in life whether we say “yes” or “no” to Jesus because stuff will happen to us either way. You’ll still have that cancer or you’ll still have that shoulder’s chip.
But saying “yes” to Jesus begins a partnership. A true value, as the Alexian Brothers tell us, partnership is a mutual and beneficial exchange and experience between two people.
We tend to think of God as the “Big Guy Up There” and we’re His tiny puppets puppetting through life. Yet as God’s creation, as God’s creatures we are hardly puppets attached to a heavenly string. St. Paul calls us “ambassadors” for surely we are that in making God known and present in our world. That’s our part of the partnership.
God fulfills His part of the partnership by providing us with every possible gift (religious word) or tool (earthly word) that we need to make it through this life:
mercy…kindness…forgiveness…patience…an extra cheek when the first one was smacked… left eye because we plucked the right one…
and most importantly the grace (religious word) for the strength and stamina (earthly words) to answer Jesus’ first and only question to us, “What are you doing today?”